Weekend in Review

So I finished fiddling with Brian’s mom’s iMac a little after 5 pm on Saturday. I came home, hastily threw together supplies for an overnight stay (Andy’s parents are so nice, letting me stay over like I do) and hopped in the car. On previous trips I would take the time to compile 80 minutes of music and burn a CD for the trip, which would start over from the beginning about fifteen minutes before I arrived at Andy’s place; this time I took my iPod and its two shiny new accessories: a cigarette-lighter adaptor, for power, and a cassette adaptor. Yes, my car was one of the last cars ever made that included a tape deck.

I quickly ascertained that the tape adaptor has no bass. Other than that, the setup worked swell; I bopped along quite happily the entire trip up. One downside is that you absolutely can not mess with the iPod once you’re driving; it just takes your eyes off the road for too long. I had figured that might be the case, though, so just set it on Shuffle and (for all intents and purposes) ran my own personal, commercial free, radio station.

Merging on the interstate was a nightmare. I saw an open spot in front of a truck, and gunned it to make that gap—only to have a second truck, that had just passed the first truck, decide to merge back into the right hand lane. Into my lane. Into me. I had successfully merged, but the other truck didn’t notice—so it changed lanes, and I (since I had been eyeing this other truck, thankfully) bailed to the emergency lane. The first truck saw this and slowed down to let me in, and the rest of the trip was uneventful.

I hate trucks.

Andy was engrossed in Wario Ware when I arrived, and he soon had me playing it. Nick and Nate both called while I was pushing the A button repeatedly, and showed up at Andy’s in short order. Nate found Andy battling a boss stage (Defend the Earth!, or somesuch); Nick found Andy and me in a furious two-player battle to be the first to drop a brick on the other person’s character. That description is somewhat false, at it makes it sound like the game might be mildly interesting; in reality it’s just an exercise in timing. After Andy finally defeated me (or, as I prefer to think, I threw the game so that I’d never have to play it again), Nick commented that our battle had been damn boring for its spectators; I informed him that being engaged in the battle was even worse.

At about this time, Nick decided to sit down on Andy’s bed. Andy had bought a poster of the bridges of Portland earlier in the day, and had it rolled up on his bed. Nick and the poster did battle—and the poster was crushed. Andy unrolled the poster to find periodic creases throughout the length of it; Nate and I tried to not laugh as Andy anguished (it would suck to lose your new poster that way) and Nick—in true lawyer fashion—offered cash compensation.

I had initially been lured up with talk of Nate’s Project Shinji-Dog, an unholy hybrid of Evangelion, “Heroes of Might and Magic” (turn-based multiplayer computer game), and alcohol, all wrapped up in Project FF-Dog nomenclature. There didn’t seem to be broad-based support for this plan of action, so instead we watched an episode of Monty Python, Nick wore an extremely stupid hat, and Andy tried to get in digs at Nick’s “fat ass” as frequently as possible. I never wished for my camera as much as I did when Nick put on that hat. (I’d describe it for you, but my description falls far short. Just imagine it’s an exceedingly stupid, fake hat.)

We then formed a loosely knit street gang, and made our way around the neighborhood to Nate’s house (to pick up Heroes of Might and Magic), Nick’s house (to get a laptop), and back to Andy’s. Along the way Andy insisted on doing “tricks” off of various objects (predominantly rocks and curbs, but also including the occasional bush). While waiting for Nick to get his laptop I began reading the Heroes manual by street lamp light (apparently this chick, Fate, is quite attractive and quite single), and Andy attempted to hide behind a park bench. Andy failed to grasp the power of the third dimension, however, and—because he’s taller than the bench was long—wound up with his ass sticking up beyond the back of the bench. I accused him of practicing that position, and he admitted he was.

Once back at Andy’s, we put Go in the DVD player—a clever and funny movie, if you haven’t seen it—and fired up Nick’s laptop. Literally fired up. That sucker got damn hot, to the point where the late hour and the beers that others had consumed led to multiple references of burning one’s wang. We eventually resorted to using a pillow to separate the computer from ourselves. Heroes of Might and Magic seems like an OK game, but I was playing at a huge disadvantage; the only thing I got out of the manual, as I’ve already told you, was that Fate is hot. It was an hour or two into the game that comments Nate made informed me that you could actually go inside towns. After the movie ended we debated whether or not Nick had indeed consumed three beers, as Nate and Andy had. (Nick couldn’t remember the third.) The evidence seemed quite damning at first: they had all gotten one beer each at three times, and Andy had examined Nick’s bottles and was disappointed when they were all empty. We later discovered that one of Nick’s bottles was unopened, and concluded that one of us had lost it—just not the one we had thought.

As we had drained Andy’s house of alcohol, we moved on to Nate’s—parent free! (ooh)—house for the Animatrix and continued gaming. Andy and I dragged ourselves back to Andy’s place sometime between two and three…I think it was closer to three, but I was too tired to take note of the time. I was able to prove my resourcefulness by getting into my sleeping bag by the indiglo light of my iPod. Yay iPod—MP3 player, portable hard drive, and flashlight.

The next morning was the annual Portland “Bike the Bridges” event, where roads were closed off and hordes of bikers ride a course that includes the bridges of Portland. [Historical sidenote: this event actually marks the one-year anniversary of when I first visited Andy in Lake Oswego.] Andy, as his dad later determined, had stayed up too late and had too much beer, and so felt sick and didn’t participate in the ride as he had planned. Anyway…I slept in late, as befitted the late evening, and then got up and read the Oregonian while waiting for Andy to return from not riding his bike. We made plans with Karl to go see 28 Days Later in the afternoon, and then passed time via Guilty Gear XX. Though I’m still only well-versed in a few characters, I’m happy to say that Andy no longer has anybody with which he is almost guaranteed to trash me with. Baiken’s counter moves allow me to trash Potempkin handily, whereas in the past I’d always have to resort to name-calling (“fuckin’ Potempkin!”) to compensate for my inability in the fight.

During this time I also discovered that Andy and others were planning to fly to Vegas over a weekend in September. I was tempted to join, but it now seems that they’ve moved the date back to October…and school this term doesn’t look like I should take it lightly. (Something to do with the fact that I’ve put off all my difficult classes, and now have to face them all at once.)

Karl arrives at two, and soon after we pile into Andy’s Civic to make our way to the Lloyd Center. As I climbed into the back seat, my iPod case caught on the side of the car and the clip gave out. I silently pouted over the loss of my case on the way to the movie. It’s been a great case for taking my iPod to work.

We make our way to the theater, where the person behind the counter informs us of the second ending after the credits of the film (they threw the second ending in a few weeks after the movie came out—some marketing ploy, eh?) and we find our seats during the fifteen minutes of previews. [Andy deliberately timed things so we would avoid “The Twenty,” i.e. the twenty minute pre-produced advertising film played before movies these days.]

28 Days Later wastes very little time getting to the scene of Our Hero, Jim, wakes out of his coma to discover that something has happened to London—specifically, there’s not a soul around. A few more minutes in, and he’s walking into a church; in the stairwell, becoming clearer as Jim makes his way up the stairs, is a message spray painted on the wall. This message also became the primary bit of wisdom I took home from the movie: The end is fucking nigh. Funny!

Last time I was in The L.O., Nick claimed that the greatest criticism levied against 28 Days Later was that it didn’t advance the zombie genre in any way. I’m not so sure that the movie was that good; though the movie wasn’t bad, it felt like a mostly-weaker derivative of Night of the Living Dead that features a few truly shining moments. 28 Days Later had at least two scenes that made extraordinarily effective use of music—whereas I’m not sure that NotLD had any music (at least, in comparison, it doesn’t)—and had a few moments of decent self-referential humor (a la Scream, before that joke got old). It also effectively portrayed the emptiness of London…. Beyond that, though, it was mostly a twist on the “group of people put together under stress eventually fall apart from within” plot that NotLD featured. There are moments where people decide to do absolutely inane things without any reason (can a horror movie exist without this crutch?), which made me cringe. The middle of the movie gutted the horror completely and opted for some bizarre pesudo-inspirational road trip theme, while the final third revists the NotLD theme with a vengeance. The film seems to be of two minds as to what it is about (road trip, or people reacting under stress), and—in my opinion—it suffers for that. [On the other hand, it wasn’t shot by a hand-held camcorder and so didn’t make me throw up, thus it’s automatically light-years ahead of The Blair Witch Project.]

…And that’s enough of my trying to be pretentious and reviewing a horror movie. I should note that I’ve only seen most of Night of the Living Dead, and, for all I know, that movie might be a derivative work of some other horror movie.

After the movie’s first ending, the entire audience sits through the credits to wait for the second ending. As the credits come to a close, the entire audience watches incredulously as one guy in the front row decides it’s time to leave. Someone eventually reminded the guy about the second ending.

Post-movie we checked out the mall’s Electronics Boutique store, which featured extremely crippled, but still playable, demos of Soul Calibur II. Andy settled into playing the computer, while Karl and I poked around the store. I eventually got bored, and Andy invited me to see if I could play against him—and was disappointed to learn that I could. We engaged in an extremely hot (ha ha) Cassandra-on-Cassandra battle, where I managed to curb-stomp Andy despite his earlier practice and my not remembering the controls very well. Andy then determined the game to be stupid, and so we went out and cooled off by the side of the mall’s skating rink.

Things pretty much occurred here as I mentioned them in passing in my late-Sunday entry. I marvelled at how these young kids could skate well—much better than I’ll ever be able to skate (hell, it took me years to figure out how to stay upright when roller skating). I didn’t marvel at the one kid who slammed into the wall at high speed, nor did I marvel at the four girls who were skating while holding hands and somehow managed to clothesline a little boy. I mean, damn. I’d be scarred for life if four older girls clotheslined me on the ice rink.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

powered by wordpress